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Abolish Read Receipts On E-mail

Via Twitter, @agfhome asks, “Do people think i’m stupid? Does anyone else get insulted by seeing a read receipt on an email requesting a reply and getting none?”

For the record, here are my thoughts on the subject. I think e-mail read receipts re about the most annoying damn thing ever created and the people who use them are narcissistic douchebags. You’re sending me a message and along with it is this little cover note that says:

  • I don’t trust you to actually open my mail
  • I want to know if you open my mail
  • If you do actually open it, I want your computer to spy and you and report that fact back to me

That you would send an e-mail and demand to know if I read it is ridiculous. I have six different e-mail accounts set up on my Blackberry alone. I actively monitor about 12 different accounts and average around 500 messages a day. There are, within that traffic, a handful of people who have turned on the read receipt option.

Just to be clear, and believe it or not, your message is not the most important one I will get today. Chances are, it’s not in the top 50.

Fortunately, I can configure my e-mail to check with me before it sends you a receipt. Granted, it actually causes me more work, but I’d rather spend the few seconds to specifically tell you to piss off by not allowing my machine to reply.

Do us all a favor. Turn that shit off. I realize the concept appeals to you, but save yourself the embarrassment of being “that guy”. Please!

Written by Michael Turk